What does a reddish snowman at the end of the Solar System have to do with new insights on the birth of planets?
On New Year’s Eve, the New Horizons spacecraft sent back to Earth the first images of the farthest celestial body yet encountered in the history of space exploration. It is called Ultima Thule.
Its shape is special and unusual. It resembles a red snowman.
»The New Horizon spacecraft is like a time machine. It took us to the time when the Solar System was being formed. We can observe the birth of planets, frozen in time,« said scientist Jeff Moore.
The shape of the celestial body is not only interesting because it is unusual, but also because it will reveal to scientists how the planets were created four and a half billion years ago.
»And it’s not just those in our Solar System, but also those that circulate around other stars in the galaxy,« added the NASA scientist.
Ultima Thule is more than six billion kilometres from Earth. It is located in the Kuiper belt, which extends far beyond the orbit of Neptune, the farthest planet of our Solar System.
The Astrophysicist Dr. Brian May, also known as a member of the group Queen group, wrote a special song to mark the twelve-year journey of New Horizon.
Points to Consider
- Why are we so excited about the birth of planets?
- Do you know where does the nema Ultima Thule come from??
- Was the space craft deliberately sent towards Ultima Thule??
The original version of this article was published on January 3rd.